Over the past few years, Denis Villeneuve has become one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood. The director has been on a good run recently, releasing critically well-received films like Sicario and this year’s sci-fi drama Arrival. While both films have seen the filmmaker bring his signature style to two different genres, but he faces a much larger test in the eyes of audiences as he prepares to bring the long-in-development Blade Runner 2049 to screens next year.
The sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner stands to be up against extreme scrutiny from fans. The original 1982 film has become a shining example of the genre, as the film’s aesthetic and themes regarding artificial life have influenced everything from The Matrix to Minority Report to HBO’s Westworld. And while Villeneuve seems up to the challenge that doesn’t mean Blade Runner 2049 will be a walk in the park for him.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Villeneuve revealed that Blade Runner 2049 is his “biggest artistic challenge” to date. Looking back at his filmography, that may be a little hard to believe. But he affirmed that the highly anticipated sequel pushed his artistic limits like never before:
“It’s the first time that I had to take the universe of someone else and to make it my own. It’s very challenging, the biggest artistic challenge I’ve had in my life probably. Listen, I hesitated a lot before doing it, but when I said yes I committed at one hundred percent and it’s very difficult to talk about it because I’m in the process of doing it, so it’s a bit like asking a hockey player to describe how he will score as he’s going through the other players. It’s a massive challenge.”
It should come as no surprise that Blade Runner 2049 is a massive undertaking. For one, Villeneuve must create a faithful yet progressive sequel to satisfy the original’s huge fan base. Then he also needs to make a film that will stand on its own, regardless of what’s come before. And that obviously requires extreme personal dedication and hard work. What is comforting is that he has a strong creative team backing him up. The sequel stars Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Jared Leto (Suicide Squad), Dave Bautista (Spectre), and obviously Blade Runner veteran Harrison Ford. The cast, along with acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins and Villeneuve’s frequent composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, should help bring the sequel to life.
Of all the huge movies coming next year, Blade Runner 2049 may be near the top of the list. The sequel has a lot riding on it, so hopefully it will pay off. Villeneuve has shown audiences that he’s a very capable director — across many different genres. So, fans can rest easy knowing he and his fellow team members are trying to make Blade Runner 2049 something special.